Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead

refer to caption

Woodhead with the San Diego Chargers
No. 39San Diego Chargers
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1985-01-25) January 25, 1985
Place of birth: North Platte, Nebraska
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: North Platte (NE)
College: Chadron State
Undrafted: 2008
Career history
Roster status: Injured reserve
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2016
Rushing attempts: 503
Rushing yards: 2,182
Rushing touchdowns: 15
Receptions: 267
Receiving yards: 2,498
Receiving touchdowns: 17
Player stats at NFL.com

Daniel Jacob Woodhead (born January 25, 1985) is an American football running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He has also played for the New England Patriots. He played college football at Chadron State.

Woodhead set several NCAA college football rushing records, including single season rushing and all-time rushing. In 2006 and 2007, he won the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the best player in NCAA Division II, making him the third player to win the trophy twice in its history (the other players are Johnny Bailey and Dusty Bonner). On October 6, 2007, Woodhead became the NCAA all-time, all-division leading rusher. Woodhead held this record until it was broken by Mount Union running back Nate Kmic on December 13, 2008.[1]

Personal life

Woodhead grew up in a close knit family and was homeschooled until the ninth grade. Like him, both of his parents attended Chadron State and his father, Mark, played wide receiver for the Eagles in the late 1970s.

Woodhead and his wife, Stacia, have a daughter named Gia Grace and a son William.[2][3]

Woodhead is a Christian. He has spoken about his faith saying, "Without my relationship with Christ nothing else really matters."[4]

Early years

Woodhead played football at North Platte High School in North Platte, Nebraska, and broke many records. North Platte reached the state finals in 2001, with Woodhead's help after beating Millard North High School team 24–21. Woodhead blocked a field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter to give North Platte possession with only minutes left. North Platte's Ben Woodhead, Woodhead's older brother, threw a pass down field to set up a game winning field goal by Jake McCarthy. However, North Platte went on to lose the state championship 28–14 to Millard West High School.

In Woodhead's junior season, his team went 8–1 in the regular season, and won two games in the playoffs before falling to Millard North in the semifinals.

Woodhead's senior season, North Platte had its first undefeated regular season in 40 years, going 9–0. The team went on to beat Omaha North High School in the first round of the playoffs, Bellevue East in the second round, and finally lost to Millard North 21–7 in the semifinals for the second year in a row. Woodhead finished as Nebraska's Class A leading rusher, as well as Nebraska's Class A all-time leading rusher with 4,891 yards (2000–2003). North Platte High's quarterback that year, Derek Enderle, also finished as the state's leading passer. This marked the first time in North Platte's history that the football team finished with the state's leading passer and rusher in the same season.

In addition to being a star in football, Woodhead was also a four-year letterman that set school or state records in other three sports; in track & field, he broke the school record after sprinting a blistering 10.5 seconds in the 100-meter dash; in basketball, he once scored 47 points in a game; in soccer, he netted 16 goals in a season.[5]

College career

In 2004, Woodhead began attending Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska, where he rushed for 1,840 yards as a true freshman. Woodhead was the first recipient of a full athletic scholarship at Chadron State in its 96-year history.[6]

In 2005, Woodhead carried the ball 278 times for 1,769 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, and 21 touchdowns. He also had 30 receptions for 367 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per reception.

In 2006, through 12 games, Woodhead rushed for 2,740 yards, a new all-division single season rushing record,[7] surpassing Kavin Gaillaird. Including the playoffs, his rushing yards in 2006 totaled 2,756. He also led his team to the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2006, losing to Northwest Missouri State. Northwest Missouri State managed to hold Woodhead to a season low 16 yards rushing on 16 carries while giving up 79 yards receiving, which was more than double anyone on the Northwest Missouri team. Chadron also had 327 yards of total offense compared to Northwest Missouri State's 306.

Through 39 games, Woodhead’s 606 points equated to 15.5 points a game, the highest ever in NCAA Division II. Only Dan Pugh of Mount Union College, a Division III school in Ohio, with 248 points in 2002 and Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State with 234 in 1988, had ever scored more points in a season than Woodhead scored in 2006. However, in 2007 Abilene Christian University's Bernard Scott broke Woodhead's Division II record by scoring 39 touchdowns (234 points).

Woodhead accumulated 7,441 yards on the ground, for his career, giving him a career average of 190.8 yards per game. He rushed for more than 200 yards in 19 of his 39 appearances and scored in 37 consecutive games, both of which are NCAA all-division records.

After a 208-yard game against Western New Mexico in 2007, he became college football’s all-time leading rusher, breaking the record previously held by R.J. Bowers, who played for Grove City College, a Division III school in Pennsylvania from 1997–2000.[1] Woodhead is also just the sixth NCAA Division II player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in four seasons.

He has also recorded 9,259 all-purpose yards, which ranks second on the NCAA all-time list. Brian Westbrook (Villanova, 1997–2001) currently holds the record with 9,512 total yards of offense.

Woodhead is also tied with Germaine Race (Pittsburg State 2003–2006) for first place in Division II in career scoring with 654 points on 109 touchdowns. Race is also the all-time leader in two two-point conversions for 658 points. Woodhead is only the second player in collegiate history to score more than 100 touchdowns.

Barry Sanders is the only college player to accumulate more all-purpose yards than the 3,159 that Woodhead gained in 2006, as he gained 3,250 as a junior at Oklahoma State University in 1988, when he won the Heisman Trophy. Woodhead ranked 10th in Division-II in career all-purpose yards with 7,349 after his junior season. The Division-II leader is Brian Shay of Emporia State with 9,301 yards, including 1,207 on kickoff returns, 1995–1998.

Woodhead was a Harlon Hill Trophy candidate in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, winning the award in both 2006 and 2007.

When interviewed, Woodhead stated that Nebraska never showed much interest in him and that he wanted to go somewhere where he was wanted. Chadron State showed a lot of interest in him, which is where he ended up.[8] While at Chadron State, he majored in math education.

College statistics

Year Games Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg YPG TD Rec Yds Avg YPG TD
2004 10 284 1,840 6.5 184.0 25 16 163 10.2 16.3 2
2005 10 278 1,769 6.4 176.9 21 30 367 12.2 36.7 0
2006 13 344 2,756 8.0 212.0 34 45 403 9.0 31.0 4
2007 11 250 1,597 6.4 145.2 21 38 484 12.7 41.0 2
Career 44 1,135 7,962 6.9 183.0 101 119 1,388 11.7 32.3 8

Professional career

Woodhead did not receive an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine so he had to use his pro day to show his abilities. According to a report on NFLDraftWatch.net, he ran the 40-yard dash in times of 4.33 to 4.38 seconds which would have been the second-fastest among all running backs at the NFL Combine in March 2008. He posted the best pro-agility time of 4.03 seconds, the second-best vertical jump (38½ inches) and the best 60-yard shuttle time (11.2 seconds). He also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times.[9]

New York Jets (2008–2010)

Woodhead went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft. However, he received a call from the New York Jets moments before the draft ended, about the two parties coming to an agreement on an undrafted rookie free agent contract. It was announced shortly after, that Woodhead had signed a deal with the organization.[10]

On July 26, 2008, Woodhead was waived/injured by the Jets after being carted off the field due to an injury. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

On September 3, 2009, the Jets faced the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason matchup. During this game, Woodhead rushed for 158 yards, the NFL's second-highest preseason total since 1992, and 2 touchdowns.[11] Woodhead initially survived final cuts in September 2009, only to be waived a day later on September 6. He was re-signed to the Jets' practice squad on September 8.[12] In October, Woodhead was moved from running back to wide receiver and on October 17, he was signed to the active roster after Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith became injured.

Woodhead saw his first regular season action on October 25, 2009. In the 38–0 win over the Oakland Raiders, Woodhead rushed 3 times for 24 yards.[13]

Woodhead was released by the Jets organization on September 14, 2010.[14]

New England Patriots (2010–2012)

Woodhead with the Patriots in 2011.

Woodhead was signed by the New England Patriots on September 18, 2010, one day before the team's Week 2 matchup against the Jets.[15] The team had an open roster spot for Woodhead after the trade of Laurence Maroney; Woodhead was inactive for the game, which saw longtime Patriots third-down running back Kevin Faulk go down for the season with a knee injury. On September 26, making his Patriots debut as well as his first career start, Woodhead had a 22-yard touchdown run against the Buffalo Bills, his first NFL touchdown. In Week 4, Woodhead added an 11-yard touchdown reception in a win over the Miami Dolphins. Against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, Woodhead had a 36-yard touchdown run in a Patriots win.

On November 19, 2010, Woodhead signed a two-year contract extension with the Patriots, through the 2012 season.[16]

Woodhead finished the 2010 season with 3 starts in 14 games played. He had 97 carries for 547 yards (5.6 yard average), and 5 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 34 passes for 379 yards and one receiving touchdown. Woodhead was part of the Patriots postseason roster until the team lost to his former team, the Jets in the divisional round.

On February 5, 2012, Woodhead made a catch in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI to score a touchdown for the New England Patriots. The Patriots would eventually lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17–21. Woodhead ended the game with 4 catches for 42 yards and ran 7 times for 18 yards.[17]

San Diego Chargers (2013–present)

Woodhead agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers on March 15, 2013.[18] He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract. The deal included a $1 million signing bonus.[19] He scored his first touchdown as a Charger in a Week 4 matchup against the Cowboys. The Chargers won the game and Woodhead ended up with two touchdown catches. Sharing time with Ronnie Brown as the team's backup to Ryan Mathews, Woodhead enjoyed a career year. He led all NFL running backs with six touchdown receptions and was second with 76 catches for 605 yards in the regular season. He also had 106 carries for 429 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per attempt, for an overall 1,034 yards and eight touchdowns; he added a dimension missing in San Diego's offense since Darren Sproles departed after 2010. Of all the Chargers free agent acquisitions in 2013, quarterback Philip Rivers said he "was most excited about" Woodhead.[20]

Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 of 2014, Woodhead suffered a leg and ankle injury and was carted off the field. His season ended after he was diagnosed with a broken fibula.[21]

After recovering from a broken fibula, Woodhead had a strong showing against the Detroit Lions Rushing for 43 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. Against the Cleveland Browns Woodhead had 54 rushing yards that included a 19 yard rush that set up a game winning field goal by Josh Lambo and also had 84 receiving yards, one of those catches being 61 yards, the longest of his career. Against the Miami Dolphins Woodhead scored three touchdowns on six receptions, and another touchdown running the ball. It was the highest amount of touchdowns in his career.

Woodhead in 2014

In the 2016 Week 2 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Woodhead suffered a torn ACL and was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.[22]

Career statistics

Year Team GP Rushing att Yds Avg Lng TD First downs Fumbles Lost
2009 NYJ 10 15 64 4.3 16 0 2 0 0
2010 NE 14 97 547 5.6 36 5 23 1 1
2011 NE 15 77 351 4.6 12 1 18 0 0
2012 NE 16 76 301 4.0 19 4 19 1 0
2013 SD 16 106 429 4.0 14 2 26 2 2
2014 SD 3 15 38 2.5 13 0 2 0 0
2015 SD 16 98 336 3.4 27 3 21 0 0
Total Total 91 484 2,066 4.3 36 15 111 4 3


Year Team G Rec Yds Y/A TD
2010 NE 15 34 379 11.1 5
2011 NE 15 18 157 8.7 0
2012 NE 16 40 446 11.2 3
2013 SD 16 76 605 8.0 6
2014 SD 3 5 34 6.8 0
2015 SD 16 80 755 9.4 6
Total‡ 29 261 2,463 9.4 16


  1. 1 2 "Chadron State's Woodhead becomes all-time rushing leader". ESPN.com. October 6, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  2. http://www.chargers.com/team/roster/danny-woodhead/860a6335-946b-435c-a536-15b1e40f8b53/
  3. http://fabwags.com/stacia-woodhead-is-sd-chargers-danny-woodheads-wife-photos/
  4. "Giants' and Patriots' Players say their Relationship With God is More Important than the Super Bowl".
  5. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/patriots-danny-woodhead-beating-odds-life-beat-team-article-1.454157
  6. Beech, Mark (October 22, 2007). "How's He Look Now?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  7. "Chadron State RB sets NCAA season rushing record". ESPN.com. Associated Press. November 25, 2006.
  8. "Interview with Danny Woodhead – Only Player to Rush for More than 2700 Yards in A Season". CornNation.com. December 13, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  9. http://www.cornnation.com/2008/3/13/901/67382
  10. "Jets ink rushing leader Woodhead to free-agent deal". ESPN.com. April 28, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  11. "Vick rushes for TD, sacked four times as Jets beat Eagles". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 3, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  12. Hutchinson, Dave (September 8, 2009). "NY Jets sign RB Danny Woodhead to practice squad". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  13. "Woodhead makes NFL debut in win over Raiders". North Platte Bulletin. October 25, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  14. Vrentas, Jenny (September 14, 2010). "Receiver David Clowney re-signs with the Jets; Danny Woodhead waived". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  15. "Ex-Jet Woodhead joins Patriots just before big game". NFL.com. September 18, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  16. Rapoport (2010-11-25). "Thankful for each other, Patriots and RB Danny Woodhead reach a long-term contract extension". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  17. "Scoring Summary". The Indianapolis Star, page X12. February 6, 2012.
  18. Henne, Ricky (March 15, 2013). "Chargers Nab Dynamic RB Danny Woodhead". Chargers.com. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  19. http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5297/danny-woodhead
  20. Lee, Forrest (January 10, 2014). "Rivers: Adding Danny Woodhead elevated Chargers offense". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014.
  21. Around The NFL team (September 21, 2014). "Injury roundup: Danny Woodhead injures ankle, fibula". NFL.com. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  22. "Chargers Sign WR Griff Whalen, Place Danny Woodhead on IR". Chargers.com.
  23. "Danny Woodhead Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 5, 2014.

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